The gangplank was pulled away and the Charles W. Morgan, under tow, departed from Tisbury Wharf at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The last wooden whaling ship was escorted by more than a dozen boats as she left Vineyard Haven harbor. The Island Home ferry was right behind her. Boat horns and cannons sounded, and onlookers lined the wharf from Eastville Beach to Tisbury Wharf to get a last glimpse of the ship. Outside the harbor, the schooner Shenandoah was unfurling her sails.

Early reports were that the Morgan was going to be towed through Quick's Hole and would sail from there.

The Charles W. Morgan is bound for New Bedford, the next stop in her historic 38th voyage. In many ways, her arrival later today in New Bedford will be a homecoming. The ship was built at the J&Z Hillman Brothers shipyard there, and New Bedford was her home port for most of her 37 whaling voyages.

The Charles W. Morgan arrived on the Island last Wednesday afternoon, heralded with cannons and boat horns and onlookers gathered from Gay Head to West Chop. The ship and a dockside exhibit were open from Saturday through Tuesday. More than 2,000 visitors came to see the ship each day over the weekend.